CHA News

Covered California Releases Report on Options for Improving Affordability

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Today, Covered California submitted a report to the Legislature titled “Options to Improve Affordability in California’s Individual Health Insurance Market,” outlining options to improve affordability for low- and middle-income Californians. 

Over the past several months, Covered California worked with academic experts and a workgroup composed of stakeholders and legislative staff to produce the report, which will inform ongoing policy discussions about health care affordability. Developed pursuant to Assembly Bill 1810 (Chapter 34, Statutes of 2018), the report presents a range of policy options for improving affordability, as well as estimated outcomes such as enrollment increases and cost reductions for consumers. 

The options include expanding the amount of premium and cost-sharing support for consumers, instituting an individual mandate penalty at the state level, and establishing a reinsurance program. The policy options contained in the report include both a comprehensive market-wide approach as well as several discrete options that could be targeted to different segments of the market based on policy priorities and budget limitations. The report estimates that, depending on the approach and options, the policies could result in an additional 750,000 Californians gaining coverage (compared to potential enrollment in 2021 without the policies). The various approaches and increase in enrollment could allow consumers to save thousands of dollars in health care costs. 

Last week, CHA submitted comments to Covered California on its draft version of the report, reiterating readiness to partner with Covered California and the Legislature to build upon the Affordable Care Act by implementing premium and cost-sharing subsidies, an individual mandate and penalty, and reinsurance. CHA urged Covered California to examine each option to determine how it might impact total enrollment, coverage rates, choice of coverage, and new funding for proposed subsidies, as well as the effect on federal premium tax credits. CHA commended Covered California for its leadership in this area, noting that it looks forward to future collaboration to ensure that all Californians have access to health care coverage.